Desperate Justice

Richard Speight, Author Warner Books $0 (262p) ISBN 978-0-446-51228-2
Wavering between fact and fiction, this novel, which Speight claims to be ""the completely accurate'' story of two sensational murders, succeeds as neither one. All the names, dates and places have been ``fabricated'' to protect the innocent, he says, and the ensuing lack of immediacy and bite is fatal. A 12-year-old girl is raped and murdered by 20-year-old ne'er-do-well Frank Jordan. The girl's family is devastated, especially her mother, Carol Rogers. When Jordan is acquitted ``by reason of insanity,'' Carol shoots him to death in court. The remaining two-thirds of the book tells of Carol's defense against the charge of murder. She hires lawyer Ellen Hayes, formerly an assistant to Jordan's defense attorney, and even asks for help from Norman Green, the ``hired gun'' psychiatrist who'd testified to the rapist-killer's ``insanity.'' The writingtouching on family guilt, motivation, legal proceedings and a soupcon of feminismis flat and the characters, insulated by Speight's ``fabrication,'' seldom come to life. When they doCarol's willful act, her husband's wimpishnessthey are not sympathetic. Earnest, simplistic sociologizing and moralizing are no substitute for dramatic tension. (June 17
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
Hardcover - 517 pages - 978-0-7089-2179-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-446-34664-1
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